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Why I tip the school bus driver

I am a good tipper when I get good service. I always remember to tip my manicurist so when I break a nail or need to move an appointment, she bends over backwards to accommodate me. I tip well at restaurants too because I have worked as a waitress and I know how hard that job is. I also don't want anyone spitting in my food the next time I go there. Tipping is a way of showing your appreciation when someone goes above and beyond their job.

The most important person I tip is the school bus driver.

It's more like a gift/ tip thing I started doing shortly after my kids started school. I always give the school bus driver a gift card from the liquor store for Christmas, Easter and at the end of the school year.

Now I know parents are thinking "I have enough people to buy for. I am not including the bus driver!"

But as a parent, I assure you the school bus driver is the most important person on your list. We are very lucky to have a great driver in our neighbourhood who controls the bus and we've never had an incident while he has been driving.

This past Friday, my husband looked out the front window and said, "Why is there a school bus in front of our house?" The kids had come home ten minutes earlier. The door bell rang and Paul, the driver, passed over my son's coat and said "He left that on the bus." My husband remarked, "That was nice of him to do that." "That's why I always tip the bus driver," I informed him.

When my kids started school, they went through hats and gloves like water. I could buy them by the truck load. Every day they would leave something on the bus: a book bag, a cell phone, and their head. It was never ending.

Then there's the morning race to make it to the bus on time. How many times did I show up late for work because the kids missed the bus and I had to drive them? Now I don't mind driving my kids to school. It's that darn Kiss'n'Ride lane I hate. If you take a second longer than you have to those bitches will gang up on you. One morning, a lady (I use that adjective loosely) rolled down the window of her SUV and screamed at me, "Get the lead out of your ass! I gotta go to work." All I wanted was an extra kiss from my daughter and ended up getting bitch slapped by a fake blond.

I know being a school bus driver is a hard job. It takes a special person to be able to drive all those kids from neighbourhood to neighbourhood in the morning, while keeping them in their seats, keeping the peace and trying to stay on the road. I would not make a good school bus driver because I would be kicking kids off at every corner.

When "Paul" took over our route about five years ago, I noticed a remarkable improvement in the service. If my kids were not at the bus stop, he would stop as he drove by our house and blow the horn. Either my husband or I would poke our head out and say "They're sick" or "We're coming!" If the kids left something on the bus, he would make sure they got it back the next day.

My son, who has a huge interest in politics, sits up front so he can discuss political issues with Paul on the way to school.

Paul's good service makes my life easier. Like most people who have decided to make a career out of taking care of our children while we work, bus drivers do not make a lot of money. So when you're lucky enough to have one that goes above and beyond, you show your appreciation.

A small token during the holidays and at the end of the year means my son's hundred dollar winter coat gets delivered to my door and my kids never miss the bus.

Thanks Paul. Please don't retire until my daughter finishes high school.

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